1 December 2004

Lada has unveiled a new car. The much-mocked Russian brand that halted UK sales more than seven years ago has revealed the Kalina, a Skoda Fabia-sized car that Lada says will be launched in ‘selected European countries’ during next year.

A 90bhp 1.6-litre engine powers the Kalina to a claimed 115mph top speed, and Lada is said to have benchmarked the Vauxhall Corsa for its new model, aiming to replicate Western quality standards. The Kalina would provide competition for the cut-price Logan from Renault-owned Dacia, depending on which European markets Lada decides to compete in. Lada has hinted that it will put the Kalina through the Euro NCAP crash tests, which implies the car would be made widely available. Lada wants to produce 220,000 Kalinas a year, and it will be sold as a saloon, an estate and a five-door hatch.

Lada, which had been in the UK market since 1973, pulled out of Britain in 1997, at which point its range consisted of the three- and five-door hatchback Samara and the Niva, a small three-door off-roader. Now the company builds a car every 21 seconds in its homeland.

Lada also unveiled a sleek new concept at the 2000 Paris Motor Show called the Peter Turbo, and has also shown an LPG version of the Niva four-wheel drive.

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